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Trigger Warnings

bsh1
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9/8/2016 4:07:57 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
In the debate about trigger warnings, too often do I think critics of them are quick to toss out examples that are (to most people) patently absurd applications of the concept. Too little to I think these critics countenance more reasonable and useful applications of trigger warnings. The critics, at least those I've encountered, would seem to mock cherry-picked cases than to assess the issue on balance. In my day-to-day life, however, I have never personally encountered one of these obviously ridiculous uses of trigger warnings. I am going to try to present a cogent and reasonable counter-narrative to the one critics of trigger warnings might advance.

I think I should start out by defining a trigger warning, that way it is understood what exactly this concept means. A trigger warning is a statement at the start of (or before) a video, piece of writing, etc. which alerts the reader/viewer/listener to the fact that the content about to be presented includes content which is potentially distressing or harmful to the reader/viewer.

This definition is intentionally broad, because I also tend to find that critics like to define their objections into the concept, thus making their objections tautologically correct. Rather than miring ourselves in a debate over definitions or trying to do an end-run around substantive analysis, I think we should use a definition that gives us the widest reasonable scope of examples to analyze.

Trigger warnings serve a useful function: they seek to shield users from content which may cause them psychological harm. Depending on how you interpret "harm" in the definition, trigger warnings may even seek to prevent physical harm, for instance, the BBC warning me that "this report contains some flash photography" to help people who may have seizures induced by those flashing lights.

In terms of psychological harm, there are also reasonable applications of trigger warnings. For example, the BBC warning me that a "report contains images you may find distressing," when by that they mean heaps of dead, mangled, blood-ridden bodies in Aleppo. For people who may have experienced serious violence (e.g. victim of an armed robbery, victim of rape, etc.), these heads-up may be particularly useful, inasmuch as it can help the avoid things that might exacerbate old traumas. I can imagine that a PTSD-inflict soldier may want to switch the channel before gruesome scenes of war appear on the TV screen. But even for people who are not victims of such violence, like myself, but who may be very moved or affected by the images or who are undergoing rough personal/psychological periods, a trigger warning is a helpful preparatory note to either steel oneself for what one is about to see or to change channels. Finally, these warnings are not only useful to the sensitive, but it allows parents to decide whether to switch the channel if they're watching the news with their young children. As you can see, a wide variety of people are the beneficiaries of trigger warnings (e.g. parents, soldiers, victims of sexual assault, young children, etc.).

I think it is also important to note that trigger warnings don't prevent speech from being said. The BBC does not abstain from showing those "distressing" reports even though those reports are distressing. If trigger warnings led to speech not being spoken, then trigger warnings would never be needed, which is an ironic truism. The very presence of trigger warnings affirms that controversial speech is being disseminated.

For those who argue that trigger warnings discourage certain people from reading or watching certain media (e.g. someone switching the channel to avoid disturbing content), so what? How is this different from everyday life? Before I read a book, I go and read the summary at the back. Before I watch a movie, I look at the reviews and IMBD description. People are selective about what kind of speech they consume already; there is nothing novel or earth-shattering about that fact. Moreover, a trigger warning is--in and of itself--an act of free speech, and so suppressing trigger warnings would also, oddly enough, suppress free speech.

So, frankly, I am not sure what the harms of trigger warnings supposedly are. Maybe it makes people more sensitive, but trigger warnings haven't stopped people from consuming those BBC reports or the political debate in this country from tackling tough issues (e.g. the heroine epidemic in New England). It certainly is not the case that trigger warnings are antithetical to free speech. The clearest harm I can find is that trigger warnings annoy people, particularly those on the alt-right or who enjoy provocative speech, who do not themselves find the warnings useful. But, I think that's a relatively small harm. Even if we factor in absurd application of trigger warnings, I think that the clear benefit of reasonably applied trigger warnings outweighs petty annoyance and a few people being over-the-top.

In other words, on balance, trigger warnings are a useful social tool, and I think the criticism of them is way over-hyped. I think reasonable people can, at the very least, agree that there are good uses of trigger warnings, and, at most, agree that trigger warnings are good on balance.

TLDR

I don't believe that all trigger warnings are good or reasonable. But I do believe that trigger warnings have valid uses and applications which are a service to information-consumers. The critics of trigger warnings themselves seem over-sensitive, and cite cherry-picked examples rather than looking at the concept on balance.Trigger warnings have good uses, and are likely good on balance.

Thoughts? Comments? Reactions?
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Vaarka
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9/8/2016 6:31:40 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
I joke about trigger warnings sometimes, but in all honesty I don't care. If it's, like you said, a seizure warning, then that's probably crucial to have. If it's something that may be inappropriate to children, like nudity, blood, gore, or morbid scenes (which may be disturbing to people in general).

I think it becomes unnecessary when it gets to a point where it's more of a local thing. By that, I mean where it's more of a parent's discretion, or viewers discretion. For example, if a religious parent sees their kid watching something like, say, Fairly Odd Parents, which involves magic, and then disapprove of their kid watching it because of that, then a warning beforehand isn't needed. It's a topic that, unless disapproved by a parent, is completely appropriate.
You're probably thinking right now "haha I'm a genius". Well you're not -Valkrin

inferno: "I don't know, are you attracted to women?"
ButterCatX: "No, Vaarka is mine!"

All hail scum Vaarka, wielder of the bastard sword, smiter of nations, destroyer of spiders -VOT

"Vaarka, I've been thinking about this for a long time now," (pulls out small box made of macaroni) "W-will you be my noodle buddy?" -Kirigaya
bsh1
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9/8/2016 6:42:34 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/8/2016 6:31:40 PM, Vaarka wrote:
I joke about trigger warnings sometimes, but in all honesty I don't care. If it's, like you said, a seizure warning, then that's probably crucial to have. If it's something that may be inappropriate to children, like nudity, blood, gore, or morbid scenes (which may be disturbing to people in general).

I think it becomes unnecessary when it gets to a point where it's more of a local thing. By that, I mean where it's more of a parent's discretion, or viewers discretion. For example, if a religious parent sees their kid watching something like, say, Fairly Odd Parents, which involves magic, and then disapprove of their kid watching it because of that, then a warning beforehand isn't needed. It's a topic that, unless disapproved by a parent, is completely appropriate.

This is, I think, a highly reasonable view, and one I can generally agree with.

I think there is a lot of room for agreement on this issue, and that just calling out silly examples to try to discredit the idea as a whole is problematic and misses the mountains of common ground that can be reached.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

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PetersSmith
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9/8/2016 6:44:06 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/8/2016 4:07:57 PM, bsh1 wrote:
In the debate about trigger warnings, too often do I think critics of them are quick to toss out examples that are (to most people) patently absurd applications of the concept. Too little to I think these critics countenance more reasonable and useful applications of trigger warnings. The critics, at least those I've encountered, would seem to mock cherry-picked cases than to assess the issue on balance. In my day-to-day life, however, I have never personally encountered one of these obviously ridiculous uses of trigger warnings. I am going to try to present a cogent and reasonable counter-narrative to the one critics of trigger warnings might advance.

I think I should start out by defining a trigger warning, that way it is understood what exactly this concept means. A trigger warning is a statement at the start of (or before) a video, piece of writing, etc. which alerts the reader/viewer/listener to the fact that the content about to be presented includes content which is potentially distressing or harmful to the reader/viewer.

This definition is intentionally broad, because I also tend to find that critics like to define their objections into the concept, thus making their objections tautologically correct. Rather than miring ourselves in a debate over definitions or trying to do an end-run around substantive analysis, I think we should use a definition that gives us the widest reasonable scope of examples to analyze.

Trigger warnings serve a useful function: they seek to shield users from content which may cause them psychological harm. Depending on how you interpret "harm" in the definition, trigger warnings may even seek to prevent physical harm, for instance, the BBC warning me that "this report contains some flash photography" to help people who may have seizures induced by those flashing lights.

In terms of psychological harm, there are also reasonable applications of trigger warnings. For example, the BBC warning me that a "report contains images you may find distressing," when by that they mean heaps of dead, mangled, blood-ridden bodies in Aleppo. For people who may have experienced serious violence (e.g. victim of an armed robbery, victim of rape, etc.), these heads-up may be particularly useful, inasmuch as it can help the avoid things that might exacerbate old traumas. I can imagine that a PTSD-inflict soldier may want to switch the channel before gruesome scenes of war appear on the TV screen. But even for people who are not victims of such violence, like myself, but who may be very moved or affected by the images or who are undergoing rough personal/psychological periods, a trigger warning is a helpful preparatory note to either steel oneself for what one is about to see or to change channels. Finally, these warnings are not only useful to the sensitive, but it allows parents to decide whether to switch the channel if they're watching the news with their young children. As you can see, a wide variety of people are the beneficiaries of trigger warnings (e.g. parents, soldiers, victims of sexual assault, young children, etc.).

I think it is also important to note that trigger warnings don't prevent speech from being said. The BBC does not abstain from showing those "distressing" reports even though those reports are distressing. If trigger warnings led to speech not being spoken, then trigger warnings would never be needed, which is an ironic truism. The very presence of trigger warnings affirms that controversial speech is being disseminated.

For those who argue that trigger warnings discourage certain people from reading or watching certain media (e.g. someone switching the channel to avoid disturbing content), so what? How is this different from everyday life? Before I read a book, I go and read the summary at the back. Before I watch a movie, I look at the reviews and IMBD description. People are selective about what kind of speech they consume already; there is nothing novel or earth-shattering about that fact. Moreover, a trigger warning is--in and of itself--an act of free speech, and so suppressing trigger warnings would also, oddly enough, suppress free speech.

So, frankly, I am not sure what the harms of trigger warnings supposedly are. Maybe it makes people more sensitive, but trigger warnings haven't stopped people from consuming those BBC reports or the political debate in this country from tackling tough issues (e.g. the heroine epidemic in New England). It certainly is not the case that trigger warnings are antithetical to free speech. The clearest harm I can find is that trigger warnings annoy people, particularly those on the alt-right or who enjoy provocative speech, who do not themselves find the warnings useful. But, I think that's a relatively small harm. Even if we factor in absurd application of trigger warnings, I think that the clear benefit of reasonably applied trigger warnings outweighs petty annoyance and a few people being over-the-top.

In other words, on balance, trigger warnings are a useful social tool, and I think the criticism of them is way over-hyped. I think reasonable people can, at the very least, agree that there are good uses of trigger warnings, and, at most, agree that trigger warnings are good on balance.

TLDR

I don't believe that all trigger warnings are good or reasonable. But I do believe that trigger warnings have valid uses and applications which are a service to information-consumers. The critics of trigger warnings themselves seem over-sensitive, and cite cherry-picked examples rather than looking at the concept on balance.Trigger warnings have good uses, and are likely good on balance.

Thoughts? Comments? Reactions?

*SJWness intensifies*
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Vaarka
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9/8/2016 6:48:42 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/8/2016 6:42:34 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 9/8/2016 6:31:40 PM, Vaarka wrote:
I joke about trigger warnings sometimes, but in all honesty I don't care. If it's, like you said, a seizure warning, then that's probably crucial to have. If it's something that may be inappropriate to children, like nudity, blood, gore, or morbid scenes (which may be disturbing to people in general).

I think it becomes unnecessary when it gets to a point where it's more of a local thing. By that, I mean where it's more of a parent's discretion, or viewers discretion. For example, if a religious parent sees their kid watching something like, say, Fairly Odd Parents, which involves magic, and then disapprove of their kid watching it because of that, then a warning beforehand isn't needed. It's a topic that, unless disapproved by a parent, is completely appropriate.

This is, I think, a highly reasonable view, and one I can generally agree with.

I think there is a lot of room for agreement on this issue, and that just calling out silly examples to try to discredit the idea as a whole is problematic and misses the mountains of common ground that can be reached.

My example was based on my parents, tbh XD my mom, while not really basing it on religion, was against me watching Fairly Odd Parents because they used magic (until I was probably at least 10 or so). I think I know the real reasoning of it at the time, probably involving more of a personal reason.
But hey, she also wouldn't let me watch pokemon until I moved to NC, and one time she wouldn't let me watch Spongebob for like 2-3 years because I liked to quote lines from the show, and while I swear to this day I did not say it, someone claimed they heard me say "I'm going to kick your butt", which she knew was a line in spongebob, and then told my mom, and my mom wasn't happy. ^.^
You're probably thinking right now "haha I'm a genius". Well you're not -Valkrin

inferno: "I don't know, are you attracted to women?"
ButterCatX: "No, Vaarka is mine!"

All hail scum Vaarka, wielder of the bastard sword, smiter of nations, destroyer of spiders -VOT

"Vaarka, I've been thinking about this for a long time now," (pulls out small box made of macaroni) "W-will you be my noodle buddy?" -Kirigaya
bsh1
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9/8/2016 6:50:17 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/8/2016 6:48:42 PM, Vaarka wrote:
At 9/8/2016 6:42:34 PM, bsh1 wrote:
This is, I think, a highly reasonable view, and one I can generally agree with.

I think there is a lot of room for agreement on this issue, and that just calling out silly examples to try to discredit the idea as a whole is problematic and misses the mountains of common ground that can be reached.

My example was based on my parents, tbh XD my mom, while not really basing it on religion, was against me watching Fairly Odd Parents because they used magic (until I was probably at least 10 or so). I think I know the real reasoning of it at the time, probably involving more of a personal reason.
But hey, she also wouldn't let me watch pokemon until I moved to NC, and one time she wouldn't let me watch Spongebob for like 2-3 years because I liked to quote lines from the show, and while I swear to this day I did not say it, someone claimed they heard me say "I'm going to kick your butt", which she knew was a line in spongebob, and then told my mom, and my mom wasn't happy. ^.^

Lol. But I doubt she was demanding trigger warnings for those shows. She just watched them, decided she didn't approve, and restricted your access.
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"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

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Vaarka
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9/8/2016 6:55:42 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/8/2016 6:50:17 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 9/8/2016 6:48:42 PM, Vaarka wrote:
At 9/8/2016 6:42:34 PM, bsh1 wrote:
This is, I think, a highly reasonable view, and one I can generally agree with.

I think there is a lot of room for agreement on this issue, and that just calling out silly examples to try to discredit the idea as a whole is problematic and misses the mountains of common ground that can be reached.

My example was based on my parents, tbh XD my mom, while not really basing it on religion, was against me watching Fairly Odd Parents because they used magic (until I was probably at least 10 or so). I think I know the real reasoning of it at the time, probably involving more of a personal reason.
But hey, she also wouldn't let me watch pokemon until I moved to NC, and one time she wouldn't let me watch Spongebob for like 2-3 years because I liked to quote lines from the show, and while I swear to this day I did not say it, someone claimed they heard me say "I'm going to kick your butt", which she knew was a line in spongebob, and then told my mom, and my mom wasn't happy. ^.^

Lol. But I doubt she was demanding trigger warnings for those shows. She just watched them, decided she didn't approve, and restricted your access.

Exactly (I didn't mean the example being that she demanded a warning. I was referring to why I gave that example)

And I swear to God that I didn't say "I'm going to kick your butt" 11 years ago on the playground. Heck, my friend didn't say it either, and he would say something like that easy.
Still mad that I had to sit on the bench for half an hour until everyone was ready to leave because of that
Still mad that his mom told my mom and I got in a lot of trouble
Still mad that I had to apologize to a kid that I'd never seen nor spoken to before because they thought I'd told him I was gonna kick his butt
Still mad that my mom was watching spongebob with our neighbor's 4 year old daughter once and demanded I leave until the episode ended when I came in
Still mad because now I saw words like stupid, crap, heck, freaking, screw, etc... and she doesn't bat an eye
Still mad because I remember it all
You're probably thinking right now "haha I'm a genius". Well you're not -Valkrin

inferno: "I don't know, are you attracted to women?"
ButterCatX: "No, Vaarka is mine!"

All hail scum Vaarka, wielder of the bastard sword, smiter of nations, destroyer of spiders -VOT

"Vaarka, I've been thinking about this for a long time now," (pulls out small box made of macaroni) "W-will you be my noodle buddy?" -Kirigaya
bsh1
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9/8/2016 6:57:18 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/8/2016 6:55:42 PM, Vaarka wrote:
Still mad because I remember it all

*hugs* I am sorry for your trauma. Maybe you need a safe space where you can vent. We'll provide trigger warnings just to make sure you're prepared.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

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Vaarka
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9/8/2016 6:57:34 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/8/2016 6:55:42 PM, Vaarka wrote:
At 9/8/2016 6:50:17 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 9/8/2016 6:48:42 PM, Vaarka wrote:
At 9/8/2016 6:42:34 PM, bsh1 wrote:
This is, I think, a highly reasonable view, and one I can generally agree with.

I think there is a lot of room for agreement on this issue, and that just calling out silly examples to try to discredit the idea as a whole is problematic and misses the mountains of common ground that can be reached.

My example was based on my parents, tbh XD my mom, while not really basing it on religion, was against me watching Fairly Odd Parents because they used magic (until I was probably at least 10 or so). I think I know the real reasoning of it at the time, probably involving more of a personal reason.
But hey, she also wouldn't let me watch pokemon until I moved to NC, and one time she wouldn't let me watch Spongebob for like 2-3 years because I liked to quote lines from the show, and while I swear to this day I did not say it, someone claimed they heard me say "I'm going to kick your butt", which she knew was a line in spongebob, and then told my mom, and my mom wasn't happy. ^.^

Lol. But I doubt she was demanding trigger warnings for those shows. She just watched them, decided she didn't approve, and restricted your access.

Exactly (I didn't mean the example being that she demanded a warning. I was referring to why I gave that example)

And I swear to God that I didn't say "I'm going to kick your butt" 11 years ago on the playground. Heck, my friend didn't say it either, and he would say something like that easy.
Still mad that I had to sit on the bench for half an hour until everyone was ready to leave because of that
Still mad that his mom told my mom and I got in a lot of trouble
Still mad that I had to apologize to a kid that I'd never seen nor spoken to before because they thought I'd told him I was gonna kick his butt
Still mad that my mom was watching spongebob with our neighbor's 4 year old daughter once and demanded I leave until the episode ended when I came in
Still mad because now I saw words like stupid, crap, heck, freaking, screw, etc... and she doesn't bat an eye
Still mad because I remember it all

Still mad that I can clearly remember the sound of disbelief in the mom's voice when she came over, said my name, and demanded to know what I said, and then got mad when I didn't know what she was talking about
You're probably thinking right now "haha I'm a genius". Well you're not -Valkrin

inferno: "I don't know, are you attracted to women?"
ButterCatX: "No, Vaarka is mine!"

All hail scum Vaarka, wielder of the bastard sword, smiter of nations, destroyer of spiders -VOT

"Vaarka, I've been thinking about this for a long time now," (pulls out small box made of macaroni) "W-will you be my noodle buddy?" -Kirigaya
Vaarka
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9/8/2016 7:01:36 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/8/2016 6:57:18 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 9/8/2016 6:55:42 PM, Vaarka wrote:
Still mad because I remember it all

*hugs* I am sorry for your trauma. Maybe you need a safe space where you can vent. We'll provide trigger warnings just to make sure you're prepared.

So long as playground moms aren't allowed. They trigger my PTSD whenever I see them. I've never been able to step foot in a playground since. Playground kids should have the benefit of the doubt, and higher privilege than those privileged playground moms!
You're probably thinking right now "haha I'm a genius". Well you're not -Valkrin

inferno: "I don't know, are you attracted to women?"
ButterCatX: "No, Vaarka is mine!"

All hail scum Vaarka, wielder of the bastard sword, smiter of nations, destroyer of spiders -VOT

"Vaarka, I've been thinking about this for a long time now," (pulls out small box made of macaroni) "W-will you be my noodle buddy?" -Kirigaya
bsh1
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9/8/2016 7:03:48 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/8/2016 7:01:36 PM, Vaarka wrote:
At 9/8/2016 6:57:18 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 9/8/2016 6:55:42 PM, Vaarka wrote:
Still mad because I remember it all

*hugs* I am sorry for your trauma. Maybe you need a safe space where you can vent. We'll provide trigger warnings just to make sure you're prepared.

So long as playground moms aren't allowed. They trigger my PTSD whenever I see them. I've never been able to step foot in a playground since. Playground kids should have the benefit of the doubt, and higher privilege than those privileged playground moms!

Lol. Don't worry. I'll warn you.
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Vox_Veritas
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9/8/2016 8:45:31 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
Trigger warnings are fine as long as they don't serve to silence anybody.
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Vox_Veritas
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9/8/2016 8:48:13 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
To remove "Trump 2016" graffiti from college campuses because it "triggers" minority students is absolutely unacceptable.
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bsh1
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9/8/2016 10:42:52 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/8/2016 8:45:31 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
Trigger warnings are fine as long as they don't serve to silence anybody.

How can they be used to silence somebody?

Saying, "what I am about to say may be distressing," does NOTHING to prevent anyone from speaking.

The free speech objections to trigger warnings are absurd on their face.
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"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

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bsh1
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9/8/2016 10:46:27 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/8/2016 8:48:13 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
To remove "Trump 2016" graffiti from college campuses because it "triggers" minority students is absolutely unacceptable.

So, students removing BLM graffiti because they find BLM to be stupid would also be wrong?

Frankly, I would think that eliminating graffiti is merely a response to vandalism. If someone illegally posted graffiti in a public institution, or posted graffiti against a private institution's rules, then they had no right to speak in the first place. So, removing the graffiti does not result in any net loss in free speech.

But let's clarify one thing. A "trigger warning" is NOT the same thing as what you just described. Removing graffiti does not fit the definition of trigger warning that I outlined in the OP, and so your own example is not evidence against trigger warnings.
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PetersSmith
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9/8/2016 10:52:03 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/8/2016 8:48:13 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
To remove "Trump 2016" graffiti from college campuses because it "triggers" minority students is absolutely unacceptable.

That's actually called vandalism and is removed because it's a defacement of a property.
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Vox_Veritas
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9/9/2016 12:10:58 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/8/2016 10:52:03 PM, PetersSmith wrote:
At 9/8/2016 8:48:13 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
To remove "Trump 2016" graffiti from college campuses because it "triggers" minority students is absolutely unacceptable.

That's actually called vandalism and is removed because it's a defacement of a property.

If that's their reason then fine, but they'd better show the same treatment to any "Hillary 2016" graffiti art.
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Skepsikyma
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9/9/2016 12:41:14 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
I've made this point several times, but I'll just remake it here.

Trigger warnings don't have clinical support. They started as blog/online forum etiquette, and are basically a misguided attempt to be polite.

In the first place, they misunderstand how most PTSD triggers operate. When someone develops a trigger in response to trauma, a specific thing is happening psychologically. The entire point of the trigger is that traumatic memories are repressed, but they are linked to something supposedly innocuous which the person focuses on during the trauma. So someone who is kidnapped and raped may focus on the car that they're in so they can escape from what's happening to them. Later on, the memory of the painful rape is suppressed, but if they see that car, or something inside of it which they focused on during the act, the experience floods back with crippling clarity. If someone was mugged, seeing a person silhouetted in a doorway, or a street sign in the rain, or something like that would recall them being mugged. It all has to do with how the human brain stores memories.

When someone has PTSD, it means that they failed to recover from trauma, in a nutshell. It means that the memory is repressed and extremely painful, and is linked to these triggers which the brain fixated on during the act. Because triggers *ARE NOT* the act itself, PTSD is debilitating. It means that that person who was mugged will avoid going outside in order to avoid seeing wet street signs, that the girl who was raped will start to have an attack while driving because she sees a car that looks like the one she was shoved into. This maladaptive pattern of coping behaviors is termed 'avoidance'. In order to avoid remembering the trauma, the patient goes about trying to avoid triggers which are obscure and ubiquitous. Avoidance is the most crippling part of PTSD. It's what makes normal functioning impossible, and it is the biggest hurdle which therapy seeks to overcome. Trigger warnings were invented by well-meaning people who were acting on assumptions picked up from sensationalized media portrayal of PTSD that doesn't address the full facts of the condition.

So, how do people recover from avoidance? By exposure to their triggers. In therapy, this is done in a controlled manner. Then it is done in real life until the person can function. The message that trigger warnings send is 'avoid me', and 'you're not strong enough', which is the most crippling advice you could give a person afflicted to PTSD. It feeds into their pathos and maladaptive internal narrative, and undermines every productive therapy approach. Given the choice between throwing a trauma victim into a world full of triggers and insulating them from their triggers absolutely, the first is order of magnitudes more productive than the latter. There was a mass trauma study done in Turkey after an earthquake that displayed this effect. Basically, the survivors in the camp were traumatized when their homes were destroyed, and their triggers were the trappings of sedentary life. Some were triggered by enclosing walls, or just being home alone. Looking at two groups, one which stayed in the camp and avoided exposure to triggers, and one which returned to physical residences and immersed themselves in it, the latter showed vastly greater improvement.

So, to shorten things up, trigger warnings are misguided, they hurt both people who are not being treated for PTSD and people who are being treated for it, and the fact that they have a small dampening effect on controversial speech is just icing on an already shitty cake.

This is one of the best takes on the issue:

"Prof Metin Basoglu, a psychologist internationally recognised for his trauma research, agreed to talk to me over the telephone about the issue. He told me it was now generally acknowledged that anxiety-inducing trauma reminders were frequent in trauma survivors. 'We come across the phenomenon a lot,' he said. 'Our patients come across these cues, these reminders of trauma, and they can provoke distress in varying intensities. They respond with anxiety and distress; all of the memories come up; occasionally they have flashback episodes, which can be quite dramatic and intense.'

Basoglu is the founder of trauma studies at the Institute of Psychiatry, King"s College London, but he returned in September to Turkey, where he advises at the Istanbul Centre for Behaviour Therapy and Research (which he also founded). Over the years he has worked with patients with PTSD as well as survivors of mass trauma events, and has been publishing his findings since the early Nineties.

Basoglu gave me an example of how wide-ranging and idiosyncratic such triggers could be: 'I worked with a torture survivor who had been forced into signing a blank sheet of paper. The authorities used it to say she had signed a confession. She was conditioned to the colour white. She was not able to come close to white socks, for example.'

According to Basoglu, 'an infinite number of situations can act as triggers,' from characteristic smells, conversations, objects and social situations to watching television, reading a newspaper and listening to the news.

In a world increasingly mediated by images and content that we have no control over, does he think it's advisable for the media to issue trigger warnings?

'There would be no point,' he said. 'You cannot get a person to avoid triggers in their day-to-day lives. It would be impossible.'

But, given a chance to think it over, Basoglu went much further than that. 'The media should actually -- quite the contrary... Instead of encouraging a culture of avoidance, they should be encouraging exposure.

'Most trauma survivors avoid situations that remind them of the experience. Avoidance means helplessness and helplessness means depression. That's not good.

'Exposure to trauma reminders provides an opportunity to gain control over them. This is the essence of the treatment that we are using to help trauma survivors. It involves encouraging the patient not to avoid reminders of trauma, but in fact to make a point of exposing themselves to reminders of trauma so that they can develop a tolerance.

'I liken it to a vaccination. You get a small dose of the virus so that the body can develop immunity towards it. Psychologically it's the same phenomenon.'

When asked why he thinks the subject is rousing such strong emotions, Basoglu laughed down the telephone from his office in Istanbul. 'Any form of anxiety and distress is impermissible in Western culture,' he said. Then, very soberly, he added: 'Anxiety is not an undesirable emotion. It's a human emotion.'"
http://www.telegraph.co.uk...
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
Vaarka
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9/9/2016 1:20:40 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/9/2016 12:41:14 AM, Skepsikyma wrote:
I've made this point several times, but I'll just remake it here.

Trigger warnings don't have clinical support. They started as blog/online forum etiquette, and are basically a misguided attempt to be polite.

In the first place, they misunderstand how most PTSD triggers operate. When someone develops a trigger in response to trauma, a specific thing is happening psychologically. The entire point of the trigger is that traumatic memories are repressed, but they are linked to something supposedly innocuous which the person focuses on during the trauma. So someone who is kidnapped and raped may focus on the car that they're in so they can escape from what's happening to them. Later on, the memory of the painful rape is suppressed, but if they see that car, or something inside of it which they focused on during the act, the experience floods back with crippling clarity. If someone was mugged, seeing a person silhouetted in a doorway, or a street sign in the rain, or something like that would recall them being mugged. It all has to do with how the human brain stores memories.

When someone has PTSD, it means that they failed to recover from trauma, in a nutshell. It means that the memory is repressed and extremely painful, and is linked to these triggers which the brain fixated on during the act. Because triggers *ARE NOT* the act itself, PTSD is debilitating. It means that that person who was mugged will avoid going outside in order to avoid seeing wet street signs, that the girl who was raped will start to have an attack while driving because she sees a car that looks like the one she was shoved into. This maladaptive pattern of coping behaviors is termed 'avoidance'. In order to avoid remembering the trauma, the patient goes about trying to avoid triggers which are obscure and ubiquitous. Avoidance is the most crippling part of PTSD. It's what makes normal functioning impossible, and it is the biggest hurdle which therapy seeks to overcome. Trigger warnings were invented by well-meaning people who were acting on assumptions picked up from sensationalized media portrayal of PTSD that doesn't address the full facts of the condition.

So, how do people recover from avoidance? By exposure to their triggers. In therapy, this is done in a controlled manner. Then it is done in real life until the person can function. The message that trigger warnings send is 'avoid me', and 'you're not strong enough', which is the most crippling advice you could give a person afflicted to PTSD. It feeds into their pathos and maladaptive internal narrative, and undermines every productive therapy approach. Given the choice between throwing a trauma victim into a world full of triggers and insulating them from their triggers absolutely, the first is order of magnitudes more productive than the latter. There was a mass trauma study done in Turkey after an earthquake that displayed this effect. Basically, the survivors in the camp were traumatized when their homes were destroyed, and their triggers were the trappings of sedentary life. Some were triggered by enclosing walls, or just being home alone. Looking at two groups, one which stayed in the camp and avoided exposure to triggers, and one which returned to physical residences and immersed themselves in it, the latter showed vastly greater improvement.

So, to shorten things up, trigger warnings are misguided, they hurt both people who are not being treated for PTSD and people who are being treated for it, and the fact that they have a small dampening effect on controversial speech is just icing on an already shitty cake.

This is one of the best takes on the issue:

"Prof Metin Basoglu, a psychologist internationally recognised for his trauma research, agreed to talk to me over the telephone about the issue. He told me it was now generally acknowledged that anxiety-inducing trauma reminders were frequent in trauma survivors. 'We come across the phenomenon a lot,' he said. 'Our patients come across these cues, these reminders of trauma, and they can provoke distress in varying intensities. They respond with anxiety and distress; all of the memories come up; occasionally they have flashback episodes, which can be quite dramatic and intense.'

Basoglu is the founder of trauma studies at the Institute of Psychiatry, King"s College London, but he returned in September to Turkey, where he advises at the Istanbul Centre for Behaviour Therapy and Research (which he also founded). Over the years he has worked with patients with PTSD as well as survivors of mass trauma events, and has been publishing his findings since the early Nineties.

Basoglu gave me an example of how wide-ranging and idiosyncratic such triggers could be: 'I worked with a torture survivor who had been forced into signing a blank sheet of paper. The authorities used it to say she had signed a confession. She was conditioned to the colour white. She was not able to come close to white socks, for example.'

According to Basoglu, 'an infinite number of situations can act as triggers,' from characteristic smells, conversations, objects and social situations to watching television, reading a newspaper and listening to the news.

In a world increasingly mediated by images and content that we have no control over, does he think it's advisable for the media to issue trigger warnings?

'There would be no point,' he said. 'You cannot get a person to avoid triggers in their day-to-day lives. It would be impossible.'

But, given a chance to think it over, Basoglu went much further than that. 'The media should actually -- quite the contrary... Instead of encouraging a culture of avoidance, they should be encouraging exposure.

'Most trauma survivors avoid situations that remind them of the experience. Avoidance means helplessness and helplessness means depression. That's not good.

'Exposure to trauma reminders provides an opportunity to gain control over them. This is the essence of the treatment that we are using to help trauma survivors. It involves encouraging the patient not to avoid reminders of trauma, but in fact to make a point of exposing themselves to reminders of trauma so that they can develop a tolerance.

'I liken it to a vaccination. You get a small dose of the virus so that the body can develop immunity towards it. Psychologically it's the same phenomenon.'

When asked why he thinks the subject is rousing such strong emotions, Basoglu laughed down the telephone from his office in Istanbul. 'Any form of anxiety and distress is impermissible in Western culture,' he said. Then, very soberly, he added: 'Anxiety is not an undesirable emotion. It's a human emotion.'"
http://www.telegraph.co.uk...

I really enjoyed reading this
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Skepsikyma
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9/9/2016 1:44:51 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/9/2016 1:20:40 AM, Vaarka wrote:

I really enjoyed reading this

<3
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
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9/9/2016 2:39:08 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/9/2016 12:41:14 AM, Skepsikyma wrote:
I've made this point several times, but I'll just remake it here.

Trigger warnings don't have clinical support. They started as blog/online forum etiquette, and are basically a misguided attempt to be polite.

I am going to be honest, I don't have the time or the inclination to sort through the psychological scholarship to have a detailed psychological debate on this issue. What I would say is that even if trigger warnings don't help, I don't think they hurt. They are at worst a null force.

And, even if triggers may not help the PTSD person, they certainly help people who might be sensitive to gruesome scenes of horror depicted in, say, a BBC report about chemical attacks in Syria. They help (depending on the definition) people who are seizure-prone to avoid the flashing lights which may instigate a seizure. They help parents switch the channel when age-inappropriate content is about to be played in a room with their children. So, even if I grant you your point, I am not sure that it proves that trigger warnings have no practical utility.
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FourTrouble
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9/9/2016 3:31:34 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/9/2016 12:41:14 AM, Skepsikyma wrote:
I've made this point several times, but I'll just remake it here.

Trigger warnings don't have clinical support. They started as blog/online forum etiquette, and are basically a misguided attempt to be polite.

In the first place, they misunderstand how most PTSD triggers operate. When someone develops a trigger in response to trauma, a specific thing is happening psychologically. The entire point of the trigger is that traumatic memories are repressed, but they are linked to something supposedly innocuous which the person focuses on during the trauma. So someone who is kidnapped and raped may focus on the car that they're in so they can escape from what's happening to them. Later on, the memory of the painful rape is suppressed, but if they see that car, or something inside of it which they focused on during the act, the experience floods back with crippling clarity. If someone was mugged, seeing a person silhouetted in a doorway, or a street sign in the rain, or something like that would recall them being mugged. It all has to do with how the human brain stores memories.

When someone has PTSD, it means that they failed to recover from trauma, in a nutshell. It means that the memory is repressed and extremely painful, and is linked to these triggers which the brain fixated on during the act. Because triggers *ARE NOT* the act itself, PTSD is debilitating. It means that that person who was mugged will avoid going outside in order to avoid seeing wet street signs, that the girl who was raped will start to have an attack while driving because she sees a car that looks like the one she was shoved into. This maladaptive pattern of coping behaviors is termed 'avoidance'. In order to avoid remembering the trauma, the patient goes about trying to avoid triggers which are obscure and ubiquitous. Avoidance is the most crippling part of PTSD. It's what makes normal functioning impossible, and it is the biggest hurdle which therapy seeks to overcome. Trigger warnings were invented by well-meaning people who were acting on assumptions picked up from sensationalized media portrayal of PTSD that doesn't address the full facts of the condition.

So, how do people recover from avoidance? By exposure to their triggers. In therapy, this is done in a controlled manner. Then it is done in real life until the person can function. The message that trigger warnings send is 'avoid me', and 'you're not strong enough', which is the most crippling advice you could give a person afflicted to PTSD. It feeds into their pathos and maladaptive internal narrative, and undermines every productive therapy approach. Given the choice between throwing a trauma victim into a world full of triggers and insulating them from their triggers absolutely, the first is order of magnitudes more productive than the latter. There was a mass trauma study done in Turkey after an earthquake that displayed this effect. Basically, the survivors in the camp were traumatized when their homes were destroyed, and their triggers were the trappings of sedentary life. Some were triggered by enclosing walls, or just being home alone. Looking at two groups, one which stayed in the camp and avoided exposure to triggers, and one which returned to physical residences and immersed themselves in it, the latter showed vastly greater improvement.

So, to shorten things up, trigger warnings are misguided, they hurt both people who are not being treated for PTSD and people who are being treated for it, and the fact that they have a small dampening effect on controversial speech is just icing on an already shitty cake.

This is one of the best takes on the issue:

"Prof Metin Basoglu, a psychologist internationally recognised for his trauma research, agreed to talk to me over the telephone about the issue. He told me it was now generally acknowledged that anxiety-inducing trauma reminders were frequent in trauma survivors. 'We come across the phenomenon a lot,' he said. 'Our patients come across these cues, these reminders of trauma, and they can provoke distress in varying intensities. They respond with anxiety and distress; all of the memories come up; occasionally they have flashback episodes, which can be quite dramatic and intense.'

Basoglu is the founder of trauma studies at the Institute of Psychiatry, King"s College London, but he returned in September to Turkey, where he advises at the Istanbul Centre for Behaviour Therapy and Research (which he also founded). Over the years he has worked with patients with PTSD as well as survivors of mass trauma events, and has been publishing his findings since the early Nineties.

Basoglu gave me an example of how wide-ranging and idiosyncratic such triggers could be: 'I worked with a torture survivor who had been forced into signing a blank sheet of paper. The authorities used it to say she had signed a confession. She was conditioned to the colour white. She was not able to come close to white socks, for example.'

According to Basoglu, 'an infinite number of situations can act as triggers,' from characteristic smells, conversations, objects and social situations to watching television, reading a newspaper and listening to the news.

In a world increasingly mediated by images and content that we have no control over, does he think it's advisable for the media to issue trigger warnings?

'There would be no point,' he said. 'You cannot get a person to avoid triggers in their day-to-day lives. It would be impossible.'

But, given a chance to think it over, Basoglu went much further than that. 'The media should actually -- quite the contrary... Instead of encouraging a culture of avoidance, they should be encouraging exposure.

'Most trauma survivors avoid situations that remind them of the experience. Avoidance means helplessness and helplessness means depression. That's not good.

'Exposure to trauma reminders provides an opportunity to gain control over them. This is the essence of the treatment that we are using to help trauma survivors. It involves encouraging the patient not to avoid reminders of trauma, but in fact to make a point of exposing themselves to reminders of trauma so that they can develop a tolerance.

'I liken it to a vaccination. You get a small dose of the virus so that the body can develop immunity towards it. Psychologically it's the same phenomenon.'

When asked why he thinks the subject is rousing such strong emotions, Basoglu laughed down the telephone from his office in Istanbul. 'Any form of anxiety and distress is impermissible in Western culture,' he said. Then, very soberly, he added: 'Anxiety is not an undesirable emotion. It's a human emotion.'"
http://www.telegraph.co.uk...

I agree with all of this 100%
Skepsikyma
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9/9/2016 3:35:08 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/9/2016 2:39:08 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 9/9/2016 12:41:14 AM, Skepsikyma wrote:
I've made this point several times, but I'll just remake it here.

Trigger warnings don't have clinical support. They started as blog/online forum etiquette, and are basically a misguided attempt to be polite.

I am going to be honest, I don't have the time or the inclination to sort through the psychological scholarship to have a detailed psychological debate on this issue. What I would say is that even if trigger warnings don't help, I don't think they hurt. They are at worst a null force.

But that's not true. They aren't at worst a null force. At worst, they reinforce the very feelings of helplessness and depression which make PTSD so difficult to cope with.

And, even if triggers may not help the PTSD person, they certainly help people who might be sensitive to gruesome scenes of horror depicted in, say, a BBC report about chemical attacks in Syria. They help (depending on the definition) people who are seizure-prone to avoid the flashing lights which may instigate a seizure. They help parents switch the channel when age-inappropriate content is about to be played in a room with their children. So, even if I grant you your point, I am not sure that it proves that trigger warnings have no practical utility.

Those are content warnings. I have no problem with the idea of content warnings; but I have a huge problem with portraying trigger warnings as a mental health necessity for people with PTSD.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
FourTrouble
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9/9/2016 3:38:42 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/9/2016 2:39:08 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 9/9/2016 12:41:14 AM, Skepsikyma wrote:
I've made this point several times, but I'll just remake it here.

Trigger warnings don't have clinical support. They started as blog/online forum etiquette, and are basically a misguided attempt to be polite.

I am going to be honest, I don't have the time or the inclination to sort through the psychological scholarship to have a detailed psychological debate on this issue. What I would say is that even if trigger warnings don't help, I don't think they hurt. They are at worst a null force.

First, I'm going to assume you admit that they don't help, and that they don't help precisely because you can't stop people from freaking out and experiencing crippling anxieties.

Second, let me note how wrong you are about the lack of "harm" from trigger warnings.

The primary harm is that people begin to think the origin of their mental illness is you. Folks with mental illness (i.e. serious anxiety problems) don't get the help they need, because they won't even realize they have a problem. Instead, they told to believe that their problem is the world, the problem is life, and that they just need some sheltering from said life (i.e. trigger warnings).

And, even if triggers may not help the PTSD person, they certainly help people who might be sensitive to gruesome scenes of horror depicted in, say, a BBC report about chemical attacks in Syria. They help (depending on the definition) people who are seizure-prone to avoid the flashing lights which may instigate a seizure. They help parents switch the channel when age-inappropriate content is about to be played in a room with their children. So, even if I grant you your point, I am not sure that it proves that trigger warnings have no practical utility.

Again, see above. The epileptic is led to believe his problem lies with a society that isn't sensitive to his illness, rather than with his illness itself. Meanwhile, all the psychological research shows pretty conclusively that trigger warnings don't work. They promise something they can't deliver. The epileptic is still going to get triggered, and he's still going to have a seizure, by things beyond your control.
FourTrouble
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9/9/2016 3:40:31 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/9/2016 3:35:08 AM, Skepsikyma wrote:
But that's not true. They aren't at worst a null force. At worst, they reinforce the very feelings of helplessness and depression which make PTSD so difficult to cope with.

I mean, basically this. Trigger warnings are harmful to anyone with an actual mental illness (i.e. the people that bsh1 seems to think benefit from them).
Skepsikyma
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9/9/2016 3:43:57 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/9/2016 3:40:31 AM, FourTrouble wrote:
At 9/9/2016 3:35:08 AM, Skepsikyma wrote:
But that's not true. They aren't at worst a null force. At worst, they reinforce the very feelings of helplessness and depression which make PTSD so difficult to cope with.

I mean, basically this. Trigger warnings are harmful to anyone with an actual mental illness (i.e. the people that bsh1 seems to think benefit from them).

THANK YOU

I've been saying this for so long, and all anyone wants to talk about is 'freedom of speech'.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
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9/9/2016 3:58:11 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/9/2016 3:35:08 AM, Skepsikyma wrote:
Those are content warnings. I have no problem with the idea of content warnings; but I have a huge problem with portraying trigger warnings as a mental health necessity for people with PTSD.

My definition of trigger warnings would include these things in the content. All content warnings are trigger warnings, IMO, because "triggers" need not merely refer to psychological illness, but any image that triggers psychological or physical distress.
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bsh1
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9/9/2016 4:06:07 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/9/2016 3:38:42 AM, FourTrouble wrote:
At 9/9/2016 2:39:08 AM, bsh1 wrote:
The primary harm is that people begin to think the origin of their mental illness is you. Folks with mental illness (i.e. serious anxiety problems) don't get the help they need, because they won't even realize they have a problem. Instead, they told to believe that their problem is the world, the problem is life, and that they just need some sheltering from said life (i.e. trigger warnings).

Frankly, I think this is just hyperbolic and overblown. Never have I heard of or encountered any person with a mental illness who failed to seek help as a direct result of trigger warnings.

And, even if triggers may not help the PTSD person, they certainly help people who might be sensitive to gruesome scenes of horror depicted in, say, a BBC report about chemical attacks in Syria. They help (depending on the definition) people who are seizure-prone to avoid the flashing lights which may instigate a seizure. They help parents switch the channel when age-inappropriate content is about to be played in a room with their children. So, even if I grant you your point, I am not sure that it proves that trigger warnings have no practical utility.

Again, see above. The epileptic is led to believe his problem lies with a society that isn't sensitive to his illness, rather than with his illness itself.

Lol...The epileptic is not led to believe that at all. He is led to believe (correctly) that flashing lights may induce a seizure, and that it is objectively best for his health to avoid them. [https://en.wikipedia.org...] The flash photography IS the cause of his seizures, and he should be given notice so that he can avoid that dangerous side-effect. I think if you talked to most epileptic people (granting that I haven't, but I think this is a reasonable assumption), they would not blame society for making them epileptic, but I think they would appreciate the trigger-warning heads-up.

Meanwhile, all the psychological research shows pretty conclusively that trigger warnings don't work.

I already said I am not prepared to get into that discussion, as doing the necessary literature review would take far too much of my time.

The epileptic is still going to get triggered, and he's still going to have a seizure, by things beyond your control.

And I would rather do what I can to minimize that risk than do nothing, and I think most reasonable people would agree.
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"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

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Semiya
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9/9/2016 4:31:49 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
As has been said many times, it's very easy to discredit trigger warnings when you're discrediting a strawman of what a trigger warning really is.